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Smythe, I need your help buddy,

mrmaroon

Well-Known Member
Smythe, or anyone for that matter! I found a razor today that had the thinnest blade I have ever seen. It was maybe 2-3 thousands of an inch thick. You could bend and flex it like mad. It felt like aluminum foil. When plucked it made a very quiet wisp. Are these types of razors SUPER hollow ground or another type altogether? It was called "Expert Barber" I assume only a barber would want to wield it. Im thinking of picking it up just to try it, but I imagine it would be a pain to hone.
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
The only 2 razors that I've come across that were as thin as aluminum foil were totally worthless. Too thin and flexible to take an edge
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
Hmm, well I tell you what... I hesitate to mention this because it could lead to some misunderstanding. But I will tell you anyway...

Carbon Steel can have a few different properties depending on how it is tempered, and this will have an effect on how thin it can be ground.
I find that "generally", if the steel rings long and loud when plucked, then it can be ground very thin and will be an excellent shaver. So though it is very hard, it is not brittle and wont micro-chip when honing or shaving, and on the other hand, it is not soft so it wont "buckle" and fold-over under the load of the whiskers when shaving. This is because it is tempered to “spring steel”. It will bend, but will not stretch and stay bent, nor will it brake easily when bent. I believe this may be one of the best (if not the best) type of steel for full hollow ground straight razors.
However if it does not ring or makes a short, "thunk" then it will not shave well when ground thin.

Also look for a slightly thicker ridge just behind the edge (every full hollow ground blade has one). The edge of course is thin, but after the bevel it a little thicker then gets thinner again, then gets thicker towards the spine... it's like an hour glass shape at the cross section... or some folks will say it has a 'spear" shape.... that ridge provides strength for the thin blade. Without this ridge the thin full hollow ground blade is almost useless.
The problems occur when guys like us attempt to restore razors while sanding or grinding remove tarnish, we get carried away and grind away the thicker ridge before you know it the blade gets really thin... it has happened to me a few times.

I would love to see a photo but... if you suspect the blade was restored recently then be cautious. But if you are sure it has not been touched then chances are she will be an excellent shaver... Look for the ridge and listen for the bell.

Having said that… this does NOT mean that ringing razors are absolutely the best razors, i have many razors that shave better than the best and they don't ring at all. But if the full hollow ground razor rings loudly, then there is a grater than 90% chance it will be an excellent shaver even though the blade is ground very thin.
Maybe one of these days Bart can make some audio recordings… then maybe we can find the “tone” that makes the shave.

Also you are correct, there is one down side, because it is flexible, you absolutely cannot hone with pressure or a couple of problems will show up
You may get a bad frown... or because the edge near the point has no support (it's a corner) the edge near the point will bend away from the surface of the hone more than the rest of the edge and you will be honing well behind the bevel making the point thinner than the rest of the edge... in that case the edge near the point will not get sharp.

It is long but I hope this answers your question my friend
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Another excellent post, Smythe sir.
Smythe said:
Also look for a slightly thicker ridge just behind the edge (every full hollow ground blade has one).

Not all. I have one of these:
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

It's very thin, yet extremely stiff steel. Rings like Santa's in town while being stropped. (At least when it's honed properly).
It's an okay shaver. In the pack where 95% of all decent razors reside.
Smythe said:
Maybe one of these days Bart can make some audio recordings… then maybe we can find the “tone” that makes the shave.
It is long but I hope this answers your question my friend
Yes, I'm on it as we speak. Soundbites are coming soon. Very funny that this gets mentioned. I was stropping a freshly honed Double Arrow earlier tonight, and was thinking that I should record the faint ringing one of these days. :) And now I find this thread. The Bartputzer is on loan currently, so I can't record that one. But I have other loud ringers as well.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
This is very interesting. So could you show a picture of a razor that is thin and flexible as tin/aluminum foil that takes an edge? I'd love to see that :)
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
Bart said:
Not all. I have one of these:
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

It's very thin, yet extremely stiff steel. Rings like Santa's in town while being stropped. (At least when it's honed properly).
It's an okay shaver. In the pack where 95% of all decent razors reside.
Bart.
Ahhhh! Bart, you caught me with that beautiful blade… indeed full hollow, but no ridge, it’s a “Rattler Grind” (need to put that one in the Razor Dictionary), Indeed those won’t have a ridge like the German Hamburg Grind. In fact they may be ground on the same wheels (and machine) as the Hamburg Ground blades, but the direction of the “cut” is along the length of the blade instead of along the width of the blade. You can tell by the cut at the tang, that’s where the wheel stops... and that cut is different from most other types of "shoulder-less" blades.
And indeed the same rules apply, just the right amount of “spring” in the steel and thinly ground. Though there is no ridge, its strength comes from the fact that the edge starts out thin and the blade gets linearly thicker until it meets the spine in a sharp curve. Some folks will call that one faux Frame-Back, but to be more correct “One Piece Faux Frame Back”.
You will see Frederick Reynolds and a few other Sheffield blades with those grinds (though a lot thicker), but I haven't seen many German blades with it.... in any case I do not believe anyone grinds razors like that any more, so it's probably quite rare to see one.
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
richmondesi said:
This is very interesting. So could you show a picture of a razor that is thin and flexible as tin/aluminum foil that takes an edge? I'd love to see that :)
Hmmm I have one that is I believe is “as thin as tinfoil”, sings like a stuck pig, and “the best mo-fo shave a man can get” (trump Gillette on that one). It is very difficult to photograph a blade while bending it, and I would not recommend anyone try to “bend” a blade a shave ready blade… it is done before honing.

I will try to post a few photos soon.
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
Bart said:
Yes, I'm on it as we speak. Soundbites are coming soon. Very funny that this gets mentioned. I was stropping a freshly honed Double Arrow earlier tonight, and was thinking that I should record the faint ringing one of these days. :) And now I find this thread. The Bartputzer is on loan currently, so I can't record that one. But I have other loud ringers as well.

Kind regards,
Bart.
This would indeed be music to my ears.
 
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